Oxygen in the First Minutes of Life in Very Preterm Infants

Ola Didrik Saugstad, Vishal Kapadia, Ju Lee Oei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Even a few minutes of exposure to oxygen in the delivery room in very preterm and immature infants may have detrimental effects. The initial oxygenation in the delivery room should therefore be optimized, but knowledge gaps, including initial fraction of oxygen (FiO2) and how FiO2 should be changed to reach an optimal oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry (SpO2) target within the first 5–10 min of life, remain. In order to answer this question, we therefore reviewed relevant literature. For newly born infants with gestational age (GA) <32 weeks in need of positive pressure ventilation (PPV) immediately after birth, we identified 2 fundamental issues: (1) the optimal initial FiO2 and (2) the target SpO2 within the first 5–10 min of life. For newly born infants between 29 and 31 weeks of GA, an initial FiO2 of 0.3 hit the target defined by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) best. Newborn infants with GA <29 weeks in need of PPV and supplementary oxygen, we suggest starting with FiO2 0.3 and adjusting the FiO2 to reach SpO2 of 80% within 5 min of life for best outcomes. Prolonged bradycardia (heart rate <100 bpm for >2 min) is associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes, including death. The combination of strict control of development of SpO2 in the first 10 min of life and a heart rate >100 bpm represents the best tool today to achieve the most optimal outcome in the delivery room of very preterm and immature newborn infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-224
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Delivery room
  • Oxygenation
  • Resuscitation
  • Very preterm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Biology


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